Pre- Assembly preparation with the Local women

Regional and host churches want to facilitate mutual learning and meaningful contribution

(LWI) – Women from Namibia’s Lutheran churches have begun preparations to host The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Women’s Pre-Assembly to be held in Windhoek, 5 - 8 May 2017. The preparatory meeting, 16-20 November, focused both on logistics and critical themes of the Pre-Assembly, which will convene a few days prior to the 10-16 May LWF Twelfth Assembly. Areas of intersection between the Assembly theme—Liberated by God’s grace—and issues that specifically impact women were highlighted.

The women discussed economic injustice, violence and discrimination against women, the serious challenge of domestic violence and teenage pregnancies, and the impact of climate change and unequal land rights on the most vulnerable groups such as rural and widowed women.

The LWF Women in Church and Society (WICAS) program coordinated the meeting, which also appointed a local pre-assembly planning team. Its members represent the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN), Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (German Evangelical Lutheran Church).


The presence of all the women delegates, combined with the strong commitment of the Local Committee and the support of the churches will empower women to shine and to flourish at the Assembly.

— Rev. Dr Elaine Neuenfeldt


The planning committee will be chaired by Aletta Noabes, Ulla Pack will serve as vice-chairperson and Souma P. Angala will be the secretary.

The women also discussed theological topics on women in the ordained ministry and church leadership positions, to which delegates from the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) Female Theologians Forum (FTF) contributed. Attendees included the FTF chairperson Rev. Verrah Rapoo, vice-chairperson Rev. Gerda Kayambu,  Colleen Cunningham, a member of the LWF Meeting of Officers and WICAS regional coordinator, and Ann Mokhine from the LUCSA executive director’s office.

Extending hospitality

Hospitality was a central preoccupation of the group, which anticipates welcoming participants in the Pre-Assembly and Assembly according to the Ubuntu concept of extending care and generosity to all human beings. They said the aim is to demonstrate Namibian and African openness by offering delegates a comfortable meeting place that will also facilitate mutual learning and meaningful contribution to the Assembly.

ELCRN Bishop Ernst Gamxamub met with the group in his capacity as chairperson of the United Church Council of Namibia Evangelical Lutheran Churches. He offered strong encouragement and assurance of support from the council, under which the three churches are jointly hosting the LWF Assembly.

Commitment to the gender justice agenda

Rev. Dr Elaine Neuenfeldt, WICAS executive secretary, expressed LWF’s appreciation for the support from Namibian churches and LUCSA. “The churches in Africa have appointed as delegates to the Assembly several women who are particularly active in the WICAS networks. Their presence, combined with the strong commitment of the Local Committee and the support of the churches will empower women to shine and to flourish at the Assembly. We can already anticipate very rich discussions and an agenda that truly reflects women’s priorities not only in the region but also globally,” she said.

The Pre-Assembly planning group also met with Dr Emma Nangolo, coordinator of the LWF Local Assembly Planning Committee. They agreed on collaboration in welcoming the women delegates and dedicating a space for women inside the Omatala open place for encounter, among other issues.

The group participated in Sunday worship at the Inner-City Lutheran Congregation in Windhoek, which is jointly run by the three Lutheran churches. A group of women at the congregation expressed their willingness to support the Pre-Assembly and Assembly, inspired by the LWF “Women on the Move” motto that encourages women’s contribution towards the 2017 Assembly and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.


By María Cristina Rendón, program assistant, LWF WICAS